Legally Fried


Writing in today’s New York Times, food/beverage business beat reporter Melanie Warner highlights the efforts by the industry to avert lawsuits over its role in the obesity epidemic. Specifically, she looks at the extensive regulatory and legislative lobbying done by the National Restaurant Association, the powerful trade association that represents the nation’s QSRs (quick service restaurants), among others.

Ironically, many of the NRA’s members are outwardly promoting programs and revised menus that are more healthful, while funding the trade association’s efforts to end frivolous lawsuits, e.g., “I’m obese because I like McDonald’s fries.”

The NGOs are none too happy by this industry effort. From a PR perspective, working behind a “third-party” group like the NRA makes issues advocacy more tenable than going it alone. (It also helps shield against potential criticism of contradictory policies.)